If there’s one downside to working in a creative job, it’s that everyone believes that they can do everything that you can do, if only they had the time. Authors hear “Oh, I’ve got a great idea for a novel, I should really sit down and write it one day.”, and web designers are always told about their client’s younger cousin who is “good with that computer stuff”.
Web design, as an industry, is not regulated. Anyone can set up a company and call themselves a designer, and many people do moonlight as designers even though they have no real training in the field of design. If you’re considering hiring a website designer, consider the following before you sign a contract with any company.
Check Their Portfolio
Your younger cousin might do a decent job of setting up a photo gallery for your family to share holiday snaps on, but do they have a strong portfolio of business websites? Professional designers have large portfolios that prove their versatility and their skills. Your business is too important to “take a chance” on an unproven designer.
Design vs Development
Are you hiring a website design company, or a web developer? Some designers focus purely on design – creating themes and layouts and doing graphics work. Some companies do both design and development. If you need something more complicated than a standard CMS, make sure that the company you are considering hiring can deliver that job.
Long Term Support
How much support do you want after the project is delivered? Find out whether the web designer will host the website for you, or whether they will deliver the files to a web host of your choosing. If you are using a CMS, talk to the designer about updates and patches. Will you have to handle those things yourself or will they update your site for you. If they do offer hosting and support, how much do they charge for that, and how many updates per year are included in that price.
Web designers are professionals, just like authors, graphic designers and photographers. Developing a website that is stable, secure and attractive takes skill. Designing a landing page that converts visitors into customers is an art form, and it is not something that can be taught through a few HTML lessons at school. Next time you’re shopping for a web designer, approach each call like the designer is interviewing for a job, and choose the professional that can deliver the website your business needs.